How to set sails at night? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-18-2010 Thread Starter
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How to set sails at night?

Hi,

During the day we use the Tell Tales to make sure our sailing position is the right one, BUT how can we do it during the night when you cannot see them??

As you can guess, Im relatively new to sailing.

Thanks,
Samuel
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-18-2010
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I use a flashlight with a red lens to check telltales.

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post #3 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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Use reflective tape for tell tales or better some phospheracence tape.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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Mylar "tinsel" would also work well for reflective tell tales.

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post #5 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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The reflective tabs on a Windex glow nicely from the masthead light and allow setting the main.
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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I don't have a huge amount of night experience but its been racing so I could observe what was going on on a lot of boats. What I saw struck me as some messed up stuff. Boats sailing the anchor light on to illuminate the windex, boats with deck lights on constantly, boats with bajillion candlepower flashlights swinging all over the place including the eyes of helmsmen on nearby boats and a lot more boats using small flashlights to occasionally check the sails and/or windex.

The thing that helped most on the boat I crewed on was the skippers knowledge of the boat. When my stint on the helm rolled around, he just told me at this point of sail, in these winds if the speed goes over x.x you need to head up, if it goes under y.y you need to foot off. I was able to sail a 4 hour shift with only minimal attention to the sails simply watching the boat speed through the water and heading or footing as needed. Of course we had fairly steady state winds and were close hauled, so that helped, but having knowledge of what speed you should see on a given point of sail and wind condition will really pay off at night.

From the experience I've gained from watching boats around me at night, I think occasional use of a small narrow beam flashlight is the way to go for checking the sails. Even that is going to mess up night vision, but you really don't need a 12,0000 candlepower Q-beam to see what the tell-tails are doing.

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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 12-19-2010 at 07:20 AM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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Palmetto has it pretty much right. You'd also be surprised how, if you don't blast your night vision away with flashlights, you can often see the what the telltails are doing at night as well.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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A lot depends on where you sail. We sail, not race, mostly offshore in the Gulf and the winds are somewhat stable they are typically from the South or SE, so we do any sail changes before dark (if we've been running a 130 or 150, we change down to a 110 working jib and then, no further adjustments, just lay the boat off or head up to keep the boat on the same heel.

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Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Palmetto has it pretty much right. You'd also be surprised how, if you don't blast your night vision away with flashlights, you can often see the what the telltails are doing at night as well.
Another option is to permanently implant a light in the foredeck shining up at the jib telltales. Like this one:

How to set sails at night?-img_3249.jpg

The cover is blue perspex, although red would probably be a better choice. Works great!

-
A bad day on a boat beats a good day in the office
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-19-2010
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All of the above suggestions are good. While sailing during the day pay attention to how the wind feels on your face, ears, eyes. You'll find that it's the same at night, you can get pretty close without needing to see the telltales.

John
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1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse

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